With the appearance of the tenth and final volume of
Collected Works, a project fifty years in the making
reaches completion: the publication of critically edited texts of
all of Emerson's works published in his lifetime and under his
supervision. The Uncollected Prose Writings is the
definitive gathering of Emerson's previously published prose
writings that he left uncollected at the time of his death.
The Uncollected Prose Writings supersedes the three
posthumous volumes of Emerson's prose that James Elliot Cabot and
Edward Waldo Emerson added to his canon. Seeing as their primary
task the expansion of the Emerson canon, they embellished and
improvised. By contrast, Ronald A. Bosco and Joel Myerson have
undertaken the restoration of Emerson's uncollected prose canon,
printing only what Emerson alone wrote, authorized for publication,
and saw into print.
In their Historical Introduction and Textual Introduction, the
editors survey the sweep of Emerson's uncollected published prose.
The evidence they marshal reveals Emerson's progressive reliance on
lectures as forerunners to his published prose in major periodicals
and clarifies what has been a slowly emerging portrait of the last
decade and a half of his life as a public intellectual.